EP optimist club essay winner Lily Aaberg

Lily Aaberg, an Eden Prairie High School student, won first place in the Eden Prairie Optimist Club’s annual essay contest.

Editor’s note: Area students were invited by the Eden Prairie Optimist Club to write essays related to the theme, “When all the world’s problem’s are solved, is optimism still necessary?” for its annual essay contest. Eagle Prairie High School Lily Aaberg submitted this first place essay in response to the contest theme.

The world is imperfect. Pollution ravages the Earth, starvation is almost commonplace, and politics polarize countless citizens. Through all of these struggles, we turn to optimism. We believe that solutions lie just around the corner. This optimism guides many through the twists and turns of life. But when all the world’s problems are solved, is optimism still necessary? Let’s take a look.

I turn on the news as I eat my breakfast. Headlines flash across the screen; they detail cheerful tidings of clean oceans, satisfied citizens, and honest politicians. The news has been like this for a while. It seems as if the world’s problems have been solved. Still, I cannot help but worry what tomorrow may bring. A freak storm? An oil spill? A homicide? Something awful could be lurking just around the corner.

Cereal bowl empty, I grab my coat and walk out the door. A breath of icy wind whips my face. I scowl, sure that this cold will never end. Despite the wind, the sun shines over my head on the way to work. A passerby smiles and wishes me a good morning.

“Is it really good?” I think to myself.

My day continues much the same as any other. Smiles and kind words follow my every move. I worry about what may happen. It is exhausting. At one point, I am sure I spot the beginnings of a snowstorm looming over my home. But, glancing back, I am mistaken– the sun still shines brightly. Evening rolls around. Images of environmental destruction and political scandals race through my mind.

“It’s bound to happen soon. All of it,” I announce out loud.

The news says otherwise. Just like this morning, the stories reflect on a perfect world.

Just like this morning, I am convinced it cannot be true. My own life does not reflect this harmonious society around me. I toss and turn in my bed before finally falling into a restless sleep. I wake up. I worry. The cycle continues.

All the world’s problems solved, and yet, without optimism, there is so much room for despair. A world devoid of optimism is a world without hope. And a world without hope is filled with despair. Whether our world’s issues are solved or not, hope is necessary. We hope for a better tomorrow. In a perfect world, we hope for a tomorrow just as ideal as today. We show appreciation for what we have now. We do not let worry cloud over a sunny day. No matter how good it gets, optimism will always be the quintessential trait of a happy human being.

As an optimist, I believe that, someday, solutions to our world’s issues will be found. If we keep trying to mend our broken world, eventually we are bound to stumble upon a cure, or an efficient renewable energy source, or even a balance between political extremes. The world will never be absolutely perfect. But working towards solving prevalent issues is a great place to start– working towards what we hope will be a solution. So what could an ideal world look like in the eyes of an optimist?

I turn on the news as I eat my breakfast. Headlines flash across the screen; they detail cheerful tidings of clean oceans, satisfied citizens, and honest politicians. It makes me smile. Our hope has guided us towards these wonderful solutions. We have all worked so hard, and now we can enjoy our renewed world.

Breakfast finished, I grab my coat and walk out the door. A breath of icy wind whips my face. I love living in a place with four distinguishable seasons– the weather never gets old. And winter sun always seems brighter as it reflects across the sparkling snow. A passerby smiles and wishes me a good morning. I return the gesture.

My day contains just the right touch of excitement. Smiles and kind words follow my every move. I return to my home tired yet fulfilled.

As I hop into bed, I think about what lies in store tomorrow. I am convinced it will be another beautiful day. I fall into a fitful sleep, and dream of my prosperous future. I wake up. I smile. A new day has begun.

When all the world’s problems are solved, what will your attitude be?

Melissa Turtinen is the multimedia reporter for Lakeshore Weekly News. She's passionate about adding context to stories and informing people about what's going on in their community. She enjoys being outside, traveling and good beer.

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